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BENCHMARK SOILSCAPES TO PREDICT EFFECTS OF CLIMATIC CHANGE IN THE WESTERN USA
The effects of climate change on soils are not well known, although it is widely recognized that soil properties vary greatly and function differently as a result of the climate conditions in which they are found. Global circulation models predict a 3 to 4 degree F increase in temperatures by 2030 and 8 to 11 degree F by 2090 for the western US. Predictions of precipitation are less conclusive. Two climate model scenarios forecast an increase in precipitation, particularly in California, and a drying in parts of the Rocky Mountains, while others predict drier conditions in the Rocky Mountains by 2030. Crucial unknowns identified by the US Global Change Research Program suggest that comprehensive studies are needed to document interactions between soils, water, and air resources. Our intent is to develop a long-term research and monitoring infrastructure that will serve as a foundation to attract external funding sources and foster interdisciplinary research with western pedologists. Furthermore these sites will serve as reference locations where the USDA Natural Resources Conservations Service and the National Soil Survey Laboratory can better evaluate research needs for the western U.S.
USDA CRIS Project Information Link: 0212627